Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Friends in High Places

Contributed by Norm Nyhuis, Trainer, Evergreen Safety Council
Recently, Evergreen Safety Council was contacted by Nancy Abel, the Risk Manager for the City of Marysville, Washington, requesting training for employees in the Public Works department who operate the city’s Terex Highranger equipped “bucket truck”.

The truck has a 40’ maximum reach and is specially equipped; from a load leveling suspension system, to copious numbers of public warning lights, to allow for safe work on traffic lights, and other tasks requiring access to elevated locations, such as placing banners over the street, announcing special events and activities around the city.

The training consisted of a half day of class room time, and an opportunity for each participant to demonstrate their proficiency in operating the truck in performing a task that required the precise positioning of the truck and basket, to place an object in an elevated location.

The classroom portion of the training stressed the full spectrum of safety issues, from identifying site specific concerns and hazards, to the importance of a thorough inspection of the boom and basket assembly, starting with a visual inspection, and performing a functional test of the lifts’ lower controls, before entering the basket. Other topics addressed included selection of the proper PPE for the task, such as the appropriate wearable fall protection, as well as other PPE such as high visibility garments, hard hats and gloves.

On the second day of training, the weather cooperated and allowed each of the 23 participants to demonstrate their proficiency in the actual set up and operation of the truck and lift. Each student donned the appropriate PPE and then determined how best to place a traffic cone on the arched roof of a storage area in the Public Works equipment and materials yard.

Part of the practical test was to demonstrate the ability to understand and comply with the standard hand signals customary to industries that perform their jobs in an elevated location, and where instruction from the ground may be needed for the safe maneuvering around obstacles to reach the work area.

All participants, from those who had never operated a bucket truck previously, to the most experienced operator, successfully completed the training.

At the conclusion of the training, Nancy had the following comments,” I had numerous participants tell me this was “great training”, “very thorough”, and that they all “learned something”, which isn’t always easy to accomplish when you have seasoned operators. I would say that in particular, the hands-on practical demonstration under the instructor’s watchful but encouraging eye made this very effective training.”

ESC extends congratulations to the workers in the Marysville Public Works Department for a job well done.

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